Brig Key, SS Leviathan

Description
Although not marked, this key is reputed to be from the brig, or jail cell, of the ocean liner Leviathan. According to collector and historian Frank Braynard, the key's donor, it hung on a wood plaque for many years in the model shop of the New York naval architecture firm of Gibbs and Cox, the company that renovated the Leviathan for American passenger service in 1922-23. Presumably, it came to be there after the ship was scrapped in Scotland after 1938.
The ocean liner Leviathan was built as the Vaterland for Germany's Hamburg-American Line in 1914. During World War I the American government seized the ship and operated it as a troopship. After a complete reconditioning at Newport News, Virginia, in 1922-23, the Leviathan became the flagship of the new United States Lines, which operated it for the U.S. Shipping Board until 1929. Subsequently sold into private hands, the ship ran until 1934. Laid up as a result of high operating costs and low Depression-era patronage, the Leviathan was sold to Scottish shipbreakers in 1938 and dismantled.
Location
Currently not on view
date made
1923
used date
1923-1938
Associated Place
United States: New York
Measurements
average spatial: 1 1/4 in x 3 3/4 in; x 3.175 cm x 9.525 cm
ID Number
1991.0856.26
catalog number
1991.0856.26
accession number
1991.0856
Credit Line
Gift of Frank O. Braynard, Sea Cliff, New York
See more items in
Work and Industry: Maritime
America on the Move
Transportation
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center

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